February 24, 2020

The Growing Unrest in Iran

“The New York Times’ Iran journalist, Farnaz Fassihi, was moved to say recently that in her more than 25 years of covering the country she has “never seen protests this brazen, this angry, this widespread,” adding that “this is serious. That’s why there is a total Internet blackout. [The] regime is scared.”

Despite some media misrepresentation, the protests were “largely peaceful,” only to be met with brutality by the regime.

The protests broke out despite the government’s accompanying announcement that the revenues generated from the fuel price hike will be redistributed to 18 million households in need, about 60 million Iranians.

While the eruption of national protests indicated the people’s deep distrust toward such state promises, the compensation scheme isn’t anywhere near balancing the increased prices nor is its actual implementation clear. Experts suggest that only 20 million would be eligible for those insufficient payouts. Crucially, while fuel represents an important portion of lower-income households’ expenditures, the rise in prices sets in motion a domino effect making many other basic staples more expensive.

This has added to the immense economic pressures average Iranians have been facing in recent years as a result of high unemployment, low wages, rampant inflation, and currency depreciation. Meanwhile, corruption and mismanagement among the elite have continued unabated.”

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